Three Days in Ashland, Nebraska

We stayed at this fabulous state park. It had two small fishing lakes, a lodge, cabins and about 300 campsites. A great place for families and kids.
Our campsite was huge as were all of them. Lots of space between sites and lots of open space. The only drawback was no sewer hook-up, but it didn’t matter since we were only there 3 days.

Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park & wildlife safari

The entry to the drive through safari kind of reminded us of Jurassic Park! We kept an eye out for velociraptors!
Our first sighting was a herd of Elk lazing under some shade trees.

A couple of Pronghorn Deer.
The white pelicans could care less about humans, they walk right up to you. This area was the only place you were allowed to get out of your vehicle.
Yes, that is a pond. The local residents didn’t seem to mind the green algae on the water!


Two pelicans deciding who was the Alpha!

They had a white wolf too.
and brown bears, who weren’t really interested in getting a good picture!
And Bison, including two white Bison; I never knew there was such a thing, we never saw any in Yellowstone or South Dakota and there were thousands of Bison there!
The two white Bison.

the sac (strategic air command) aerospace museum

A B1B bomber sits out in front. These things are huge when you see them up close!

The SR71 spy plane, also huge considering it only has a crew of two!

From a straight on shot of the nose you can see how aerodynamic it is with a very small frontal profile!

The Towers, an artwork “sculpture” using ordinary neck ties to depict the twin towers. Amazing when viewed from below!

A rocket powered ejection seat; talk about an E ticket ride!!
Interesting to see a cut away of a jet engine1

A beautifully restored B-29, Lucky Lady!

A new exhibit going in all about the Tuskegee Airmen.
They even had a piece of the Berlin Wall, very moving!

Our Week in Kansas

kanopolis state park and reservoir

We had a beautiful spot with lots of trees and grass, right next to our camp hosts.
For most of the week we were the only ones on our loop except for the camp hosts!

We did have a CONSTANT visitor; we nicknamed him “Angry Bird” because he kept attacking his reflection in our back windows. I guess he didn’t like his competition!
He made quite a mess of our ladder and rear of the camper!
We even tried rubber snakes to deter him but to no avail!
We had another little visitor in the dumpster! He was there almost every day and at one point had two friends with him. He disappeared on the weekend when the campground was full; I guess he didn’t like all that trash being thrown in around him!
The swimming beach on the reservoir was also pretty much empty during the week.

Some of the tent camping/picnic spots right on the water.
We took a short hike while there too.

Apparently Jan was already here!
A wildflower growing right out of the sandstone.
We even saw a beaver’s home!
And this little beauty!
We turned around when we got to this “bridge”. We didn’t want to fall into black muck!

the prarie trail scenic byway

This was the highlight of the scenic tour; Mushroom Rock. As you see here, most of the trail is dirt roads.

Mushroom Rock; not too impressive after seeing all the Utah National Parks, but pretty cool!
A small tree growing out of the rocks.

Some of the locals!

One of the 32 stops. We went by 20 some of the 32 but most were empty fields where something historic used to be! (Kind of like your map to the tree with the turn at the barrel that isn’t there anymore Rocky!)
This is what’s left of Farris Ranch!
These caves were on the tour, not too impressive other than you wouldn’t expect caves on the prairie.
Someone did a little ceiling repair at some point!
You can’t really see it but there was very clear cool water flowing into the cave.

Saw this deer along side the road during our tour.

marquette and the kansas motorcycle museum

The closest town to the park was Marquette, about 7 miles away; a cute little town of about 600 or so residents. They had a sign offering free land to anyone wanting to build a home here and live here; any takers?
Downtown Marquette.

The Kansas Motorcycle Museum. It was featuring and in tribute to a motorcycle racer named Stan Engdahl, better known as “Stan the Man”.He was 5 time national racing champion.
Mural on the side of the building.
Some of Stan’s many trophies.  It brought back some great memories of the years Jan had when her High School boyfriend, Frank, raced.
One of his racing Harley Davidsons.
A 1948 Indian, one of only two in existence!

A mini crotch rocket!

Interesting 3 wheeler from Sweden!
A drag bike; you’d have to have a death wish to get on this thing!

This BMW went around the world; partially by boat or airplane.

A dragster pedal car! Here you go Aneka!
A collection of various mopeds and small cycles.
Another death trap!
And one more!
Nice old Harley side car bike.
Harleys galore!

Our (Almost) Month in Creede, Colorado, Part 2

big meadow reservoir

Mary told us about this beautiful reservoir not too far from our campground.
Beautiful spot!
Mary said there was a hiking trail all around the lake. We ended up taking the longer route just above the path she told us about, but it was a beautiful hike too!

We saw these interesting plants along the hike. I’m not sure what they are, but interesting!

day trip to pool table

Just around the bend from our campground was another beautiful spot called Pool Table. I’ll bet these aspens are beautiful in the fall!
This might be where it got it’s name; when you get to the top (about 9500 feet) there’s this huge relatively flat meadow.

Pretty wildflowers everywhere.
Beautiful views!
And a nice view of the Rio Grande River below.
We liked it so much we had to bring Bryce, Laura and Reeve up here while they were here.
Blowing dandelions!
Reeve out sitting in the field
Laura says when she hiked the Continental Divide years ago she saw these flowers and dubbed them “Toilet Brush” flowers. Kind of fits don’t you think?

We came across this marker; I think Woody was an old fisherman (notice the lure embedded?) that wanted his ashes buried up here. I don’t blame him, it is beautiful!

pagosa springs spa and hot springs

A beautiful hot springs resort. We went there with Bryce, Laura and Reeve and Barb and Zach joined us as well.
This is the only picture I took in the spa; Laura and Reeve enjoying the 94 degree family pool!

jeeping the bachelors loop with steve and mary bergman

Steve and Mary came to visit along with her cousin Rex and his wife Lorraine. Steve has a brand new Rubicon (less than 3500 miles) so was testing it out.
One of the abandoned mines up there.
Fairly nice “road” and sometimes not!
We thought this was the road; turns out it’s a dead end ATV trail! That’s Lorraine scoping it out with Steve!
Turning around!
Another old mine.

While up there we came across this cool mine called “The Last Chance Mine”. It was purchased by the present owner to open it to the public as a museum. The building in this picture is over 100 years old; the current owner spent a lot of time and money restoring it to it’s present condition to use as their gift shop. It seems stable and strong, just not very level; it feels like it’s going to slide down the mountain!
Some of the many artifacts he’s found on the property.
The old outhouse, notice the sign? Pretty funny!

Rex’s Jeep on the right end; Steve’s next to it; he hasn’t had time to spend big bucks like Rex has!
Interesting wood carving, it looks like the current owner.
The owners house has this fabulous deck hanging out over the ledge! It’s probably 500-800 feet down! YIKES!!
The view from the deck.  Jan really wanted to hang out with a glass of wine!
Artsy view from the parking lot.

The entrance to the mine. It’s no longer being mined, but the current owner did find a vein of Amethyst that he has made into some beautiful silver and Amethyst jewelry he has for sale; Jan resisted!
This tour was conducted by an intern from a Colorado mining school. Interestingly, when asked how he picked mining engineering, he said nothing sparked his interest until they mentioned mining and explosives!
This was an offshoot that the previous owners never pursued. The explosive holes were bored but never used. They have put dummy fuses in to illustrate how it’s done.

After our day long 17 mile adventure time for libations and food; one of our favorite spots is Kips.
Fun day with some really fun friends! (Steve is Almost smiling!)
This old 50’s cabin is where they all stayed in South Fork.

great sand dunes national park

Jan and I took a trip over to this Great Sand Dunes National Park. It’s amazing that there are huge dunes in the middle of the mountain and plains here!
There’s Medano Creek that comes from the spring runoff from the mountains. This time of year it’s just a trickle and will dry up completely until the next spring.
These dunes are HUGE. Notice the dune boarders in the red oval?!? Their boards are similar to snowboards but wider.

This little spot reminded us of “The Tree” we all camped at in the desert near Ocotillo Wells.
As viewed from afar; they’re massive dunes!


Our (almost) Month in Creede, Colorado

cottonwood cove guest ranch & rv park

We stayed at Cottonwood Cove while in Creede. A small park very near Mary and Russell’s cabin.
One of the fun things while staying there was seeing their trail ride horses each evening as they came into the pasture that was right next to the campground.

We had other visitors too. This family of 4 Mountain Sheep came a few times in the beginning.
On our last evening there we saw 14! The original family must have told the others there was new green grass in the pasture to graze on.

fun times at el pescador (mary & russell’s cabin)

Mary and Russell came down for their week at their cabin along with Mary’s brother Jim, his wife Bev and Joni. We surprised Mary with a Hawaiian theme birthday party!
Barb and Zach also came for a few days.

Mary and Jim
Mary’s nephew Ryan and his friend Rion were there as well!
Even Russell’s Elk got in the party mood!
Bryce, Laura and Reeve visited for a few days too. Here they are in the playhouse in front of the cabin.

On their last day there Jim, Russell, Mary and Joni went kayaking.

Apparently Russell thought Jim was doing a fine job paddling and laid back for the ride!

Last day group shot. Left to right is Gabe with Mary, Jan, Bev, Joni, Russell, Brandt and Jim with Jet. Always fun times at the cabin with good friends!
The Three Amigas.

the creede mining museum

If you remember seeing this before in our blog you did. We went there last year but it wasn’t open for the season yet.
There were multiple displays with an accompanying audio tour headset. Very interesting learning the old and newer methods of mining; from hammer, pick and shovel to mechanized methods.
Preparing the explosives for blasting.

They used air powered engines for the later ore trams; much safer than internal combustion or even electric power.
One of the ore cars
The “potty” car!
Their lunch room, very sanitary!
Dynamite used, note the one decomposing? Apparently it’s VERY unstable at that stage!

The job bosses “bicycle”. According to the tour audio it was the most dangerous piece of equipment they used. Direct drive (pedal forward or back) and no brakes!
Warning Signals.
Interesting sign, this is where they melt down the ore to get samples for testing.
Testing lab equipment.
This door was used for the actors when they filmed The Lone Ranger at the Creede mines.
And finally this!

to be continued in our next post……..